I have been thinking about my recent labor and birth and laughing a little over some of the expectations I had about natural birth. To be sure, I wouldn’t change anything about my birth experience… but I would like to think that next time I might be a little less, uh, loud (to put it mildly).
I am a birth story junkie. I don’t know how many hours I have spent reading stories and looking at photo montages and youtube videos of natural birth. Whenever I felt doubt or negativity creep in during my pregnancy, I would go read positive birth stories. For some reason, I came away from these stories and images with certain thoughts about natural birth, and planned my birth accordingly. I never thought about the stuff that wasn’t filmed or photographed. And for those mamas that look gorgeous throughout the whole thing… what beautiful planet are you from?!? Just kidding.
I was going to make sure my hair was straightened and my make-up was done. I agonized over what I was going to wear (and in the end never found anything I considered suitable). I was going to impress people with my pictures. I was sure I was going to labor in the hotel tub and love being in the water. I never even thought about what my “vocalization” would sound like. I expected there to be pain, but I didn’t think much about that…. I envisioned a quiet and serene atmosphere for labor, and when I pushed the baby out at the hospital, I was going to amaze everyone with how awesome I was (lol). And after birth? I expected to feel amazing, and definitely thought I would feel “as if I hadn’t had a baby” within a day or two.
Reality? My curly, frizzy hair ended up in a sloppy pony tail with pieces sticking out all over because I kept shaking and grabbing my head. I didn’t like the tub (granted I was in transition at the point I got in it, so it might be different in earlier labor) and because I was in too much to pain to get dressed again, I ended up naked as…well, as a newborn baby. I’m glad I didn’t buy that sweet little nursing gown that cost way too much…. There is only one picture of me- my husband snapped it minutes after she came out, and I look like hell (but I love the picture anyway). My vocalization was crazy and out of control. It went from moaning, to yelling, to all-out screaming and begging God for help by the end. I’m still kind of surprised that I couldn’t get myself under control in that area. At least I kept breathing…. The paramedics and the hospital staff were pretty impressed (though I am pretty sure that some thought I was crazy and had planned to birth in the hotel) with me. I have to say, however, that I was disappointed with how uncomfortable I was after the baby came out. Yes, the pain of labor stopped, but my butt hurt so bad I couldn’t sit on it. I didn’t experience that “high” feeling right away. After the placenta came out at the hospital and they gave me an ice pack, my butt-pain became manageable. It was also after the placenta came out that I started to feel very happy and proud of myself and thankful to God for things going well. So… I guess I had the “high”, it was just delayed. I certainly didn’t feel good enough to cook breakfast (as some birth stories said) that day or several days after. I felt better than I had with my other 2 births (medicated births), but not “all better.” I took pain meds after the birth and those helped with the pain (duh). I think they also hurt my recovery though. They made me terribly constipated and they masked the pain so well that I did way too much when I got home. Plus, I got a uterine infection and I might have caught it sooner if I hadn’t been taking those.
Like I said, I am happy with my birth. I love thinking about it. I’m not ready to do it again anytime soon, lol… but I love how things happened.